To be born again on a carpet of dead leaves … The XV of France is not at a wink close. Flowering at the very moment when nature lowers its curtain, here is its creed, its essence, its raison d'être if one pushes a little.
As this new season opens Saturday night on an affordable tour facing worn South Africans, Argentineans under construction and Fijians limited, which is much more than just a launch pad for the World Cup in Japan (20 September – 2 November). After so many years of wandering, so much disappointment, crisis and upheaval, it is now time to give some hope to an audience that is less and less numerous at the stadium. It is also urgent to restore the blazon of a sport tossed by contrary winds in the Hexagon.
Jacques Brunel, the coach catapulted to the head of the Blues just over ten months ago to replace Guy Novès, is not a magician, nor even, despite his mustaches, a Gallic leader ready to challenge the Roman armies. "My goal is that we are as close as possible to the best," he invariably insists, as if he wanted to never come too far.
A lot of desire and excitement
Brunel is right. His track record (2 wins in 8 games) is no better than that of his predecessors and his questions much more numerous than his certainties. He only has for him the freshness of the novelty and some talents capable of maintaining his dream. Teddy Thomas, Damian Penaud or Antoine Dupont, even if he is only substitute this Saturday night against South Africa, have legs of fire, carved to ignite the Stade de France.
We are only waiting for that. We only ask for that. Gallops, tests. From the base, from the audacity. To hear Captain Guilhem Guirado, the week was sparkling in Marcoussis. "This Friday morning in training, I even had to calm the players because there was a lot of desire and excitement, he slips. I hope that's auspicious. "
Without a doubt. And the moment is propitious to release these energies. Even if they managed the feat of bringing down the All Blacks at home this summer (36-34 in Wellington on September 15), the Springboks, beaten by a England XV minus a week ago (12-11 ) are not impressive.
The Blues, without reference in recent seasons, have the means to start their tour on the right foot and to consider a full box in November. They must at least, given the proposed oppositions, come back with two successes in their musette. Otherwise, it is decidedly there is not much more to do.